AT least three LGUs (local government units) are opening their doors to national athletes gearing up for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi in November.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino on Tuesday identified the LGUs as Taguig, Tagaytay, and San Pedro in Laguna.
“I called friends who are willing and who have the passion for sports,” he told the online version of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano said the city could accommodate athletes in volleyball and table tennis, while Tagaytay Mayor Agnes Tolentino will host those from cycling and kickboxing.
San Pedro Mayor Agnes Arcillas said the city could take in 50 athletes from any martial arts or combat sports like karate, judo or even wrestling.
Tolentino, a congressman from Tagaytay and head of the cycling federation, said the LGUs have agreed to provide the accommodation, food and training venue.
“Kasama lahat ‘yun starting on July 1 up to November. It’s up to the NSAs (national sports associations) to decide on the duration of their stay,” said Tolentino.
Last week, SEA Games chef-de-mission Ramon Fernandez, also a board member of the Philippine Sports Commission, appealed to LGUs to provide training venues for the athletes considering that major sports facilities like the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and PhilSports Complex in Pasig are being used for COVID-19 purposes.
Tolentino also told the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) that two more LGUs might join the cause.
“If we get them, then good,” said Tolentino, adding that there’s ample time for the Filipino athletes to train for the SEA Games scheduled Nov. 21 to Dec. 2.
Athletes from fencing have been training in a secluded environment in Ormoc while those from archery are based in Dumaguete.
Tolentino said athletes from athletics and aquatics would train in Clark, the site of the 2019 SEA Games.
Tolentino said the vaccination program for the athletes to the SEA Games as well as those vying in the Tokyo Olympics in July are in place.
“We have three sources of the vaccine – the national government, (business tycoon) Mr. Enrique Razon and the subsidy from the Olympic Council of Asia. Whichever comes first, we will take it,” said Tolentino in the session powered by Smart and Upstream Media as official webcast partner.
But he assured the athletes, officials, coaches, and mediamen who will be part of Team Philippines that they will get the vaccine.
“The best vaccine is the available one,” Tolentino said.